The Queen arrived wearing a stunning cocktail dress of gold lame designed by Angela Kelly under a dark cape.
The dress had sweeping trimmings of antique gold lace and deep olive, and was adorned with Swarovski crystals.
Take That star Robbie Williams opened the show by belting out one of his biggest hits, the aptly-named Let Me Entertain You.
Black Eyed Peas star Will.i.am continued the party mood by getting the crowd on their feet for his band’s hit I Gotta Feeling.
He was joined by fellow judge from BBC1’s The Voice Jessie J – wearing a dazzling blue and gold dress, split to the thigh.
Jessie then had her own turn in the spotlight with her hit Domino.
Cheryl Cole made a surprise appearance to accompany Barlow. The former X Factor judge performed her new single Need You Now.
Earlier, JLS performed hits Everybody In Love and She Makes Me Wanna, although they failed to keep the crowd on their feet.
In keeping with the Queen’s lengthy reign, Cliff Richard drew on hits from across each decade of his career — which stretches back to 1958.
Dressed in a beige suit, the youthful music veteran performed songs such as Devil Woman, Wired For Sound, We Don’t Talk Anymore and even Millennium Prayer, accompanied by footage of the Queen from her early life. But it was his 1968 hit Congratulations that had the crowd back on their feet.
Controversial comic Jimmy Carr was on his best behaviour as he took his turn as a guest host.
But he admitted: “The temptation to say something inappropriate is almost too much. I could end up in the Tower by the end of the evening. Elton John’s Crocodile Rock was one of the biggest tunes of the night, with all the crowds joining in with the chorus, whose words “La, la, la, la, la'” were projected on to the palace.
At one point images from the Queen’s 60-year reign were projected on to the palace as the BBC Concert Orchestra played U2’s Beautiful Day.